Australian Parliament introduces draft legislation to tackle foreign bribery

The Australian Government has introduced a new Bill into the Senate to address the challenges associated with detecting and combatting serious corporate crime. The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 will broaden the offence of bribery of a foreign public official, including by creating a new strict liability offence for failing to prevent foreign bribery. It will also introduce a Deferred Prosecution Agreements scheme for corporations in respect of specific corporate criminal offences in order to encourage self-reporting. For more detail on the Bill, see our briefing, 'New Australian measures to combat Corporate Crime'.

Australian Parliament considers Bill to establish a new Home Affairs portfolio

A Bill to establish an Australian Home Affairs portfolio was introduced into the Australian Parliament on 7 December 2017. In addition to establishing a new Home Affairs portfolio, the Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 would strengthen the Attorney-General’s oversight and integrity functions and clarify responsibilities under pre-existing security and law enforcement legislation. The Explanatory Memorandum is available here.

Australia's whistleblower reforms introduced into the Senate

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2017 was introduced into the Australian Senate on 7 December 2017. The Treasury received submissions on the draft bill until 3 November 2017. As a result, some provisions of the Bill before the Senate differ from the draft. For example, the categories of person eligible to receive a disclosure have been expanded to include the supervisor or manager of a whistleblower.

Amendment to Australian anti-money laundering legislation to capture digital currencies

The Australian Parliament recently passed the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017. The amendment will implement a first phase of reforms to Australia's anti-money laundering regime, including by bringing digital currency within the purview of Australia's financial system regulation. According to FinTech Australia, an advocate for FinTech innovation in Australia, Australia is one of the few countries to have amended its tax and justice legislation to recognise and accommodate digital currencies. The amendment will impose new reporting and record-keeping obligations on digital currency exchange providers, and require them to enrol and register on the Digital Currency Exchange Register maintained by Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and adopt programs to identify and mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing. Click here to read the Explanatory Memorandum.